The Legal Advocate

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LEAP/NITA Public Service Program

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NITA once again joined forces with LEAP, a non-profit organization in New York, to provide a public service program. NITA and LEAP worked together in 2015 on a Teacher Training and a Trial Skills program but this year the topic was Trial Evidence. The training took place October 2-3 in New York and was generously hosted by the law firm, Kirkland & Ellis LLP.  Senior Vice President of CAMBA, Inc., Janet Miller, was instrumental in working with NITA to put the training together.

NITA Program Director Barbara Barron, who has been a NITA Faculty member on over 100 programs, brought her knowledge and advocacy skills to lead this program. Some of the skills taught included: direct examinations, evidentiary foundations, direct examination with exhibits, and more. As is true NITA fashion, the participants were able to practice these skills and received direct feedback.

One participant stated, “I really liked the course and am glad I was able to attend… The faculty was excellent at demonstrating and pushing us to perform.” Likewise, others agreed they gained many skills from this training

November 2017 Executive Director’s Letter: The Soul of NITA

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Lockwood_KarenSoul? “The” soul?

How does a network of 900 trial law faculty and authors, 35 staff and 23 Trustees have a Soul? NITA remains agnostic of faith as well as party and practice type. And to think of that argumentative trial law crowd – no multi-party advocacy could settle the essence of “a single soul.”

But you feel it, right? Lacking words, I named it “NITA-Love” when I interviewed with the Board five years ago. Everyone in the room got it. And no one needed to define it. And since, I have heard and read the phrase “NITA-Love.”

But you know what? The truth is this: NITA does have a soul. Every person with NITA has the same soul. It is this:

Giving.

It is all giving. Of talent, imagination, time, funds, and . . . well, of loyalty and friendship. My proof point (the “QED”) is at the end – please read this straight through.

Faculty. They give because it thrills them to create transformative moments, every moment they can. They give from their deepest intuition, their highest level of experience. When they nail a perfect diagnosis of not only what but why to teach a particular person in a particular way on a particular skill, they swell with joy to see the result. We teach because we are hooked on the reality of making an immediate and permanent difference. Individually for each lawyer

Authors and Studio71 guests. They give original topics and comprehensive knowledge, NITA-like fresh ideas, imaginative case files. They know NITA owns, keeps, and cares for these works including how and when to go forward with updates, and will groom, trim, and tailor the collection for modern audiences and changed courtroom skills.  They are proud to join the continuum of talent behind the publications NITA uses to teach in and outside a classroom.

Staff members. I am proud of them and asked for their examples! Yes, they share the soul of NITA with faculty, authors, law firms, law schools, visible leaders and hidden gems around the country. But in their private lives, they are givers too. Just some of their Time, Talent and Tribute gifts are . . .
. . . Donating to organizations like Southern Poverty Law Center, the Manatee Foundation (yes, for one particular Manatee over the years with a visit to that ‘family member’ during a college tour), supporting a start-up helping families after the loss of a child, Nature Conservancy, Public Radio and Television, Planned Parenthood, hurricane emergency funds for Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico, The Humane Society of Boulder County, the Denver Rescue Mission, small non-profit projects like Suzie’s Senior Dogs, and artists who are doing creative works, especially filmmakers, musicians,
. . . Volunteering individually or as a staff in community service, such as farm work at Three Leaf Farm (which grows organic foods for local restaurants), stuffed backpacks for new students at Crayons to Calculators, coaching school athletes in Ultlmate Frisbee and baseball, leading hockey leagues for elementary age players, coaching mock trials for high school, law school, and bar association students, and presenting ethics lectures to judicial groups, assembling donated items into toiletry bags for those without homes.
. . . Leading or advising organizations such as the non-profit Growing Home, (focusing on the whole family through services for “Parents as Teachers” (a food bank, mentoring, emergency shelter, and gifts and gatherings such as Thanksgiving baskets), the Nanda Center for International Law, the Colorado State Board of Education, a small mountain town’s water board, and Penguicon (an annual convention that provides an eclectic mix of computer education, life skills, and geeky fun.
. . . Plus, as one staffer wrote, “I work at NITA so I get to feel like I am giving back every day – very cool!”

Trustees. They too give Time, Talent and Tribute. Of course. Plenty! But I have not shared before how extensively they give of their personal donations as well as their time and guidance. Our Soul is deeply shared across the Board, and we rejoice in their collegiality and the contributions.

Friends and Family. Every one of the groups above, and others who care for NITA, double-down through donations to NITA’s Foundation. Each and every one of you gives priceless value to us, and your gifts too sustain our Public Service Program and scholarships. Our public service lawyer program line-up grows every year, and now attracts requests from more and more groups than ever. The immigration advocacy training programs exemplify our great pride in expanding public service offerings to serve client groups in great need. Scholarships to public programs also always challenge us – there is a great need. Thank you for every gift, of every size.

Here’s the Soul Thing!

In 2017, NITA-Love has taken a shape so distinctive that we can declare and trust the NITA Soul to be Giving. In a stunning call this summer, a group of veteran faculty quietly explained that together they had committed to a campaign to establish a memorial scholarship fund commemorating the life and talent of Bob Vanderlaan. The idea, the working plan, and the “go” button were all created outside staff’s usual work to shepherd gifts to our Foundation. It arose from NITA-Love. And it is about to achieve the ambitious campaign goal.

I am overjoyed. As a personal matter, I have to say that I tear-up writing this paragraph. Your bonds, your trust, your generosity and your commitment have strengthened NITA. It strikes my heart and I take in shorter breaths. Thank you.

As I step out of the Executive Director role and pass the beloved baton to Wendy, I know . . . I KNOW that NITA-Love is those things that we give. Of everything. And your spirit, loyalty, and pride are our most precious gifts. Please help us grow that Soul and trust it . . . I will be out there with you, doing the same as you do.

Thank you,

Karen_ShortSig

 

 

Karen M. Lockwood, Esq.
Outgoing President and Executive Director
National Institute for Trial Advocacy

Kansas Public Service Advocacy Skills/NITA Program

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On October 26-28 NITA headed to Kansas in order to conduct a public service training which was funded by a grant from the Kansas Bar Foundation. This training has been conducted for many years and was once again led by NITA Program Director, Judge C. William Ossmann who worked alongside longtime NITA Faculty Mark Caldwell and Judge Robert McGahey from Colorado, as well Public Defender Jessica Glendening, Assistant United States Attorney Dustin Slinkard, and Criminal Defense Attorney Paul Oller. Together – this team trained a diverse group – 6 legal aid attorneys, 3 public defenders, 4 prosecutors, and 4 attorneys from the Attorney General’s office.

The faculty came from a variety of backgrounds which brought immense knowledge on trial skills to the training. Of the diverse faculty, one participant stated, “The faculty worked well together and I appreciated that their feedback and remarks had consistency.”

The trial skills training was held at the Sternberg Museum in Hays, Kanas. This three-day training included skills such as: direct and cross examination, analyzing exhibits, and opening and closing arguments – following the tried and true NITA Method.  One participant stated, “This course was fantastic and I was able to use the tips and tricks I learned that weekend as soon as I was back in the office on Monday. I already feel more confident going into court because I am following the steps NITA laid out for me.”

Furthermore, Program Director C. William Ossmann stated, “It was rewarding to see everyone using their time together to improve their trial skills to benefit their clients, no matter where they might be seated in the courtroom.”

The Kansas program shifts year to year from eastern Kansas to western Kansas and will return to Topeka in 2018.

Federal Rules of Evidence

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The handy guide for U.S. Courts and Magistrates, Federal Rules of Evidence has been amended through December 1, 2017. The small-format packaging is designed so you can easily tuck the book into a pocket or briefcase. The spiral binding allows you to place the book flat on a desk or table, so you can quickly reference pages without damaging the spine.

Retail Price: $25

Order here in: Print, Epub, or Mobi

Robert VanderLaan Scholarship Memorial – Saturday, November 11, 2017

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On Saturday, November 11th, many gathered to honor and celebrate the late Robert Vanderlaan who dedicated 35 years of his life as a NITA faculty member. NITA Program Director Dan Rabinovitz and faculty member Jon Barnard helped to create a NITA program scholarship in Bob’s name. Jon, Dan and faculty member Mike Kelly (pictured from left to right) were all integral in organizing the event which was held at Mike Ditka’s restaurant in Chicago, one of Bob’s favorite places.

“The evening was a smashing success. People came from across the country to honor Bob’s memory. Many stories were told – people laughed and cried. The evening concluded with live music being played that Bob always loved.”

Many attendees gave memorable toasts as well – sharing stories and memories of Bob. Pictured to the right is NITA Faculty Thomas Geraghty giving his toast.

The Robert Vanderlaan Memorial Scholarship is still receiving donations. For information please click here to read NITA’s full article on how to donate.

 

 

 

 

NITA’s team of practicing lawyers, professors and judges from around the nation dedicates its efforts to the training and development of skilled and ethical legal advocates to improve the adversarial justice system. NITA's Goals are to:
  • Promote justice through effective and ethical advocacy.
  • Train and mentor lawyers to be competent and ethical advocates in pursuit of justice.
  • Develop and teach trial advocacy skills to support and promote the effective and fair administration of justice.
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